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A lot of buzz about the tropics

August 24th marks the 24th anniversary of the last Category Five hurricane in the United States: Hurricane Andrew.

While we are watching the system approaching the Bahamas closely, this one doesn’t have the same kind of high-end potential Andrew had.  See the video for more about that historic storm and a look at where “Invest 99-L” is headed as of Wednesday evening:

Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma - the last "major" hurricane to strike the United States - made landfall 3,957 days ago.

That's 10 years and 10 months since a Category Three (or higher) storm landed on our shores.  I'm certain that your social media feeds will be clogged with lots of hurricane talk in coming days; the tropical Atlantic is getting very active, and there is a chance that a substantial tropical system could reach the US coast before Labor Day.

Having said that, one model (or even a cluster of spaghetti plots) does not make a forecast.  If you have beach plans for next week, Labor Day Weekend or the following week, you need to pay attention to the forecast from the Gulf Coast around Florida to the East Coast.

There is no specific skill in forecasting a tropical storm or hurricane 7 to 10 days in the future; however, we do see the environment over the Caribbean and Gulf being favorable for development.

2-2016 99-L Tropical Track with spaghetti plots

The Gulf of Mexico is very, very warm even by August standards: 1-2ºF above average.  The Atlantic is even warmer with some spots just off the East Coast as much as 2-5ºF above average for this time of year. In other words, the fuel is there if a storm is in place, but there are no "set in stone" solutions or answers for precisely when and where a hurricane threat could materialize through next week.

We'll keep an eye on it!

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